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The Anatomy of a Lie
The truth will
set you free.
The truth makes us free
but first it makes us miserable.
Released from Shame
On a rainy autumn Monday too gray for hiking or other alpine pleasures, I rummaged through the library of an old Austrian castle that had once served as a ski lodge for the European elite. Half-hidden between tall textbooks I found a slim memoir written by an American Civil War veteran. How H. Clay Trumbull's book came into Schloss Mittersill's collection is still a mystery to me. Embossed on the cover in gold-leaf script lettered by an old-fashioned hand was this title: A Lie Never Justifiable. No question mark followed the author's titular declaration.
As I read those four ornate, gilded words, a sliver of guilt shivered from some deep recess of my conscience, poking out a memory ahead of it. The incident happened the day I left for Europe.
Minutes before I was to leave for the airport, I dialed my favorite kennel to let them know that my Yorkie would be delighted to bunk with them while I was abroad. An unfamiliar voice answered the phone, a new kennel staffer.
"Are Babu's immunizations up-to-date?" she asked.
Nuts! I thought. Nuts, nuts, nuts!
Babu would have been the very model of canine medical compliance if my car hadn't broken down three days before. Just when the pup was due at the vet for his next round of baby shots, we were cooling our paws waiting for AAA to tow us to a repair shop. In the hectic days following that missed appointment, I never found another free moment to chauffeur Babu for his immunizations. In the competition between the dog's needs and other pressing chores, Babu lost out.
Five minutes before an airport taxi was due to arrive at my house, this new dog nanny had the nerve to upset my delicate pretravel balance. If I had answered her truthfully, the kennel would have denied my dog admission until Babu got her shots. So close to flight time there seemed nowhere else to turn, no other choice to make. "Yup," I lied. ...